spoils the enjoyment of collecting if autographs are fake  this one may i ask an expert ?

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I don’t know James Dean’s autograph well so to comment, I would need to study it some more.  One thing to keep in mind is that I believe Dean autographs are generally very expensive because he died so young.  So if the seller is offering to sell for just a couple of hundred dollars or something like that, then he probably knows it’s not real.  I don’t know if that’s the case here, but just keep that in mind.

Oh there are some really knowledgeable people on here.  It depends on what autograph you’re talking about.  The thing is no one can be an expert on every autograph.  There are just too many celebrities both past and present.  Hopefully someone will give an opinion.  I’d say there are more knowledgeable people here than work for the third-party authenticators. 

Have you bought it? If so how much did you pay. Does it come with any history? Does the autographed page look vintage 


The reason I ask the price. If it's less than £1000 it is a fake. If it comes with no providence, then It wouldn't be worth gambling on. Who is selling it. Do they soecialspe in autographs. These are the questions to ask when aporaisiap a a JD

But that is not a truly hard rule. I have purchased many $500 to $1000 autographs for $50 or less with no papers, no provenance and no returns. Education is the only edge. There should not be much "gambling" IMO - no need.

I must disagree. Logic and reason is a good starting point.

Why "gambling" if using "logic and reason"? Spock would agree, logic is a sound start, but experience, trial, error, they all come into play. Some people pay too much attention to provenance (other than the true photographic kind I posted for you earlier). My own father could swear on a stack of whatever that he got Bowie's autograph in December, 1980 at the Booth theater when Bowie was playing The Elephant Man etc. - all the details. But if that signature is not typical and has problems, does not align with the known exemplars of the day, well...I won't be selling, buying or recommending.

But, just because something is undervalued...well, that does NOT equate to it being a forgery, false or a secretarial etc. 

If you read my messages, you Will see it doesn't say that experience isn't the most important factor.  I have 30 years exoexperie in this business, so I'm no novice. I know what questions ask and how to research. I would never buy an autograph without asking questions.

"you Will see it doesn't say that experience isn't the most important factor."

I'll get back to you on that apparent double negative. What you did say was that a low price equates to forgery/problem. Generally, this is so, especially in an obvious case such as this, but with your 30 years you know this is just not to be accepted as an axiom. I know how to research as well - I picked it up authenticating and buying for museums/collectors/authors etc around our little globe. I will buy autographs without asking questions. I expect to provide the answers to my questions myself. Stories are great, when truly verifiable, but that is often not the case.

Provenance is a wonderful thing and I am all in favor of it but I dare say the vast majority of autographs for sale today have none.  You need to know the signature, the style, the ink and paper.  The question needs to be what is provenance?  The best I suppose would be clear  uninterrupted video of a person signing a specific item.  The next a photograph of the singer holding up the autographed item.  Taking checks, documents and autograph letters out of the mix a cut can be very hard to determine provenance.  An inscribed item is easier and helps but only if the signature looks good.  I love to buy directly from original owners if possible and have their story behind the autograph.  This is for general interest and gives a history but really does not prove the signature.  I personally believe it is good to keep all receipts from autograph sales etc. and try to learn who the original person was.  We all have different comfort levels in collecting.  When I started collecting seriously in the early 1970s it was mainly historical autographs. There are very few Ulysses S. Grant cuts that have much provenance to them.  Gets harder the further back you go so you have to rely on the signature itself and paper etc.  So I agree about provenance but suppose I might disagree about the definition of it.

Great reply, Scott.

As a dedication, inscription and date adds a third dimension and places an autograph on a timeline with a context, maybe even a location...if that is considered part of the provenance ("it" is physical, unlike a story) I am in full agreement as it helps to establish the authenticity and then some. +1 Well said, Scott.



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